Vasyl Lomachenko (-600) vs. Nicholas Walters (+400), Draw (+2500)
Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KO) will defend his WBO junior lightweight title for the first time against Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KO) in Vegas on November 26.
As far as amatuer boxing goes, Vasyl Lomachenko is arguably the greatest of all time. He’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012), as well as the 2009 and 2011 world champion.
After his second olympic gold, Lomachenko decided to go pro and signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, which has been grooming him for success ever since. Though he’s only had seven fights, Lomachenko already holds two title: the WBO featherweight title and WBO junior lightweight title.
Nicholas Walters held the WBA featherweight title from 2012 to 2015, losing to Miguel Marringa on the scales after he failed to make weight. The undefeated Jamaican has an impressive record to his name but he’s been extremely inactive of late. His last fight was almost a year ago against Jason Sosa, which ended in a draw.
If the fight goes to decision, the odds are definitely in Lomachenko’s favor. He’s by far the more technically gifted fighter. But like most fighters that made their chops in amatuer boxing, he lacks power. If Lomachenko can survive the first couple of rounds, it should be smooth sailing from there.
Walters makes up for his lack of finesse with hard-hitting explosiveness. Against an opponent like Lomachenko, Walters will have to bank on ending the fight within the first four rounds. After that, he’s likely to be outboxed by the master technician.
The bookmakers heavily favor Lomachenko in this bout. While I agree that he should be the favorite, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Walters. Lomachenko has only had seven professional fights. He hasn’t been tested in the same way Walters has.
One slip up by Lomachenko could be lights out for him. The same can’t be said for Walters. The Jamaican looks like the better value at 4/1.
Pick: Nicholas Walters (+400)
Photo credit: “Steve Franjic vs Wayne Tyler” by Martial Arts Nomad, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.